Sunday, October 01, 2006

Hey, maybe we should teach about counterinsurgency

In an October 1, 2006, article Lawrence Journal-World reporter Joel Mathis starts with this paragraph:

"After a half-decade fighting guerrillas in Afghanistan — and another three years doing the same in Iraq — the U.S. military has decided to start some hard thinking about how to battle insurgencies."

I doubt Mathis has ever worn a military uniform, so his insult against the military was probably unintentional. However, an editor should have caught the error.

The fact is, the military started thinking about how to battle insurgencies long before this summer. The School of the Americas has been teaching counterinsurgency warfare for more than 50 years. The military published a new counterinsurgency guide in 2004. Also, a counterinsurgency academy for soldiers and Marines in Iraq was set up before the Counterinsurgency Center at Ft. Leavenworth came into existence.

This writer interviewed a former Green Beret shortly after 9/11. He was called back to Ft. Leavenworth just a year after 9/11 to prepare officers for the fight against al Qaeda, which, of course, included counterinsurgency instruction.

“They wanted me to consult and teach special operations," said the former Green Beret. "I went back to the Middle East a couple of times and the Far East a couple of times to be an advisor/consultant/instructor and assist our Special Operators with the global war on terror. I now have six retired lieutenant colonels working for me at Fort Leavenworth. When I was a student in Staff College, we had basically one hour of special operations instruction. We now have 400 hours of special operations instruction, which we have designed, written, and now instruct.”

On a personal note, I looked through my "Individual Training Record" while I was an enlisted Marine between 1982 and 1986. I had at least eight training sessions on counterinsurgency/counterterrorism and one Marine Corps Institute course on counterinsurgency during that period.

So, obviously, the military started giving some serious thought on how to battle insurgencies long before this summer.

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